Sunderland head to Germany in pre-season

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SUNDERLAND have confirmed they will head to Germany this summer in their main pre-season tour to foreign shores.

Steve Bruce’s men will face Bundesliga outfits Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hannover 96 along with third division side Arminia Bielefeld during a week-long stay in the north of Germany.

It brings to an end three successive years of pre-season training in Portugal’s Algarve for the Black Cats, who have now announced five of an expected eight summer friendlies.

Rumours have been rife for weeks that Sunderland would be heading to Germany, but the club have had to wait until all the games were confirmed before announcing the tour.

Sunderland are yet to reveal details of two expected games north of the border along with a friendly in the north of England.

But the pre-season schedule is now beginning to take shape with the tour of Germany sandwiched by trips to York on Wednesday, July 13, and Burnley on Saturday, July 30.

The opening game in Germany will be against Bielefeld on Sunday, July 17 (3pm), at the Schücho Arena, in Bielefeld.

A sterner test will await three days later when Sunderland face Hannover 96 on Wednesday, July 20 (7pm), at the Weserberglandstadion in Hamelin – 50km south west of Hannover.

Hannover finished fourth in the Bundesliga this season to qualify for the Europa League and include former Premier League players Emanuel Pogatetz, DaMarcus Beasley and Mikael Forssell - who played under Bruce at Birmingham.

Sunderland will complete their stay in Germany with a trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach at the impressive 54,000-capacity Borussia-Park on Saturday, July 23 (3pm).

Borussia just managed to survive in the German top flight this season after beating second tier Vfl Bochum over a two-legged play-off to avoid the drop.

Tickets for the Bielefeld game can be purchased on the day, from the ground, priced at €7 for standing and €15 for seating.

Tickets for the Hannover game are also available on the day, from the ground, priced at €12 for standing, €20 for seating and €6 for children under 12.

Ticket information for the trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach will be confirmed shortly.

Meanwhile, Sunderland will meet Gateshead twice in pre-season.

The Reserves will take on Ian Bogie’s Blue Square Premier side at the International Stadium on Saturday, July 30 (3pm), while Kevin Ball’s Under-18s take on Gateshead U19s on Wednesday, July 20 (1pm).

Gateshead’s first team will also host Huddersfield (July 9), Carlisle (July 16) and Newcastle Reserves (August 2).